Of Metal and Wishes

Of Metal and Wishes

Of Metal and Wishes

by Sarah Fine

Genre: YA Fantasy, YA Paranormal
Published: August 5th, 2014
by Simon and Schuster




There are whispers of a ghost in the slaughterhouse where sixteen-year-old Wen assists her father in his medical clinic—a ghost who grants wishes to those who need them most. When one of the Noor, men hired as cheap factory labor, humiliates Wen, she makes an impulsive wish of her own, and the Ghost grants it. Brutally.

Guilt-ridden, Wen befriends the Noor, including their outspoken leader, a young man named Melik. At the same time, she is lured by the mystery of the Ghost and learns he has been watching her … for a very long time.

As deadly accidents fuel tensions within the factory, Wen must confront her growing feelings for Melik, who is enraged at the sadistic factory bosses and the prejudice faced by his people at the hand of Wen’s, and her need to appease the Ghost, who is determined to protect her against any threat—real or imagined. She must decide whom she can trust, because as her heart is torn, the factory is exploding around her … and she might go down with it.


Sarah Fine’s Of Metal and Wishes has so many great things going for it. It is a vivid and sinister novel retold from none other than The Phantom of the Opera, and it shines in both execution and concept.

16-year-old Wen assists her father with his work as a doctor in a slaughterhouse. When someone tries to embarrass Wen, she goes to the rumored “ghost” living in the slaughterhouse and, skeptically, makes a wish; not expecting it to be granted.

Jima finishes writing and looks up at me, her delicate face full of expetation. “The ghost will listen,” she says. “He’ll help. Tell him what you want.”

I pull the coin from my pocket and toss it onto the table. “Ghost, show me what you can do. Prove yourself to me. I want to be impressed.”

But her wish is granted – in an unusually violent way, and, guiltily, Wen must deal with the consequences of what has happened.

While the world-building certainly had quite a bit of potential, I found it to be lacking a bit overall. Set in futuristic Asia where there are two main social classes – the Noor (the lower, laboring class) and the Itanyai (the middle class) – I found the difference between these two social classes absolutely intriguing. Each have different personalities and beliefs, and I loved seeing how the differences between them were portrayed. However, I felt there could have been a bit more depth here, because the backstory as to how this world came to be was practically nonexistent.

Additionally, were times when I struggled to remember that this was, in fact, taking place in a futuristic Asia because the Asian customs and traditions simply weren’t there. The majority of the time it almost read a bit more like an American historical fiction novel than the unique fantasy novel that it is, which was disappointing.

Wen is not a character that is especially well-developed or complex, but she is likeable and relatable nonetheless. She is kind and thoughtful; while being a bit blunt and impulsive as well. On the other hand, we also have Melik – the strong but silent leader of the Noor who Wen ends up falling for. Their romance is sweet and slow-burning, and positively delightful.

I am intrigued in seeing where this novel goes in the next installment, and I am sure that lovers of well-written fantasy, romance, or ghost stories will quite enjoy this.


71 thoughts on “Of Metal and Wishes

  1. I’ve wanted to read this book for a while now, and I’m glad to hear you found it…enjoyable. It’s such a shame that the world-building wasn’t up to scratch! Futuristic Asia is so unique and there’s a lot of potential there.

    Thanks for a spectacular review, Zoe. I think I’ll read this one day. Or at least plan to. It’s not a priority of mine, however.

    1. I completely agree Ebony. Asia is such a fascinating country, and the culture there really makes it unique; so it’s a shame it wasn’t looked at more in-depth here. 🙁 Thank you for the lovely comment Ebony! <3

  2. Firstly, I’m cracking up that you’re reviewing this, because I’m reviewing it on Friday lol. GREAT MINDS.

    Anyway, this is definitely sinister. The bit where they’re in the bedroom and he says it’s HER bedroom and she’s like O_O uhm, nooooo. Crept me out so much!

    The romance was amazingly done, but THAT ENDING. Sarah Fine is messing with my feels with that! Thank God there’s a book 2!

    1. HAHA! I’ll definitely look for your review! 😉

      I KNOW! That crept me out too! :scream: And that ending was so sad! 😥 I wonder how it’s going to continue.

  3. Aw that absolutely sucks that it didn’t really go into the Asian culture side. THAT’S WHAT I’M EXCITED ABOUT. I love it when books are set in other countries (especially Asia…heeeeello The Lunar Chronicles) and I’m still super curious for this one because I’ve always loved The Phantom of the Opera. I hope my library gets it eventually. *fingers crossed*

    1. It does! 🙁 There’s such potential there, you know? And that’s definitely one of the reasons why I love the Lunar Chronicles too – ha! 😉 I’ve never watched The Phantom of the Opera (I know…I haven’t watched anything!), so I’m not sure how it compares; but I’m interested in seeing what you think!

  4. haha for some reason I didn’t realise that this was a ghost book…this is what happens when I don’t read blurbs.
    I’ve seen quite a few favourable reviews of this one, and if it’s got a sinister tone and has a well developed romance, it’s probably going to be a decent read 🙂
    Sounds like the world building is a bit iffy though, which is a bit disappointing!

    1. LOL! 😀 It definitely is!

      There have definitely been some great reviews for this one, and I can’t say they’re unwarranted. It’s definitely not perfect, but it works for what the author was trying to go for, you know?

  5. I’ve been meaning to read this one for a while because I’ve had friends who have raved on about it (and equally like always, there were those who said no to this cup of tea). It’s a shame that the book doesn’t utilise its unique nature and relents to the whole “default American history feel”–I thought it had at least that going for it..but now.

    But either way, I’m interested. I heard this was a retelling of The Phantom of Opera :O which I loved. Great review!

    1. It’s always fun when a friend raves about a book, because you know it’s going to be good, right? 😀 I hope you end up enjoying it when you get a copy of it! 🙂 It definitely is a shame it didn’t tap into it’s unique potential as far as the culture aspect goes, but it was still a likeable read nonetheless. 🙂 And it is a retelling of The Phantom of the Opera, so if you’re into that definitely give this a try!

  6. Hmmm I’m not sure about this one, it’s kind of intriguing but not my normal type of read. Glad that you were intrigued enough to give it 3.5! Great review though!!

    1. Thanks Tricia! 🙂 If you’re not into the genre, then probably skip this one. If it was a 5-star read I’d definitely say that it would be worth going out of your comfort zone to try, but alas…

  7. Like you, I’m curious to see in what direction this series heads. I enjoyed the story immensely and, like you, found Wen to be likable–though uncomplicated–so while I wasn’t blown away by this I hope to be with the sequel. Wonderful review, Zoe!

    1. It sounds like we have similar feelings on this one Keertana. 🙂 Like you said, it wasn’t perfect but it was certainly entertaining nonetheless. Thank you! 😀

  8. I didn’t think this was a ghost book! (I really should have read the blurb). The book doesn’t seem all too promising, but always worth a try. If the Asian culture aspect was more present, well then, it would’ve been a different story. Great review, Zoe!

    1. It definitely is! 😀 It definitely had a lot of untapped potential as far as the world-building is concerned (but isn’t that pretty much every YA book being published nowadays? ;)

    1. YEAH! So glad to hear you’re intrigued Paula! 😀 I hope you’re able to get your hands on it soon & that you end up enjoying it! Thanks!

  9. I was tempted to request this on Edelweiss but stopped myself after reading that it has ghosts in it. I am sorry but I was just afraid it might turn out into full blown horror.

    Shame because it’s set in Asia and there’s so few books (when compared to the majority) that are set in Asia. I think I would really enjoy this. I think I can also tolerate the underdeveloped but still likable character since the 4-star rated plot would compensate for those flaws. Hahahaha.

    Ok, I will add this to my TBR just in case. 😀

    1. I completely understand where you’re coming from Charlotte. 🙂 In any case, this is certainly not a full-blown horror novel, but there are some creepy moments nonetheless. 😀

      And I completely agree! There is so much potential in that aspect, so it’s a shame the author didn’t really take the time to dive into that. 🙁 The plot definitely makes up for it though! 😉

  10. I loved this one but I am a big fan of Sarah Fine. She writes the best romances. Her characters are always complex and interesting as well. I agree, though, the world building was a little shaky once you get outside the slaughterhouse.

    1. The romance in here is spectacular! 😀 Even if the world-building wasn’t the best, like you said, the intriguing plot and well-rounded characters almost make up for that. 🙂

  11. I heard about this one a lot but I haven’t read it I confess. It’s great to know that you had a good time with it and it’s always fun to have a good ghost story! Great review lady!

  12. Awwww it SUCKS that the worldbuilding wasn’t as amazing as it could’ve been especially since it was set in Asia D: BUT YAY FOR CHARACTERS AND ROMANCE! 😀 I think I’m going to be reading this one…sometime lol

  13. Shame the author didn’t focus much on the futuristic–though I tend to feel like it was historical–aspect!! I didn’t even feel we were in Asia either. There was a lack of world-building though I’m glad you enjoyed it overall, Zoe! 🙂 Great review!

    1. It did have a historical feel to it if you looked at it that way! At times I almost felt that it was being set in the early 1900s during the labor strikes. Thanks Lola! 🙂

  14. I was actually really excited about how this was set in an Asian setting (I didn’t know it was futuristic, which is interesting to know) but too bad it wasn’t as emphasised as I thought. Too bad the world building was a bit meh, but I am still excited to read this. Great review as always Zoe! <3

    1. It’s a shame, because Asian culture is so fascinating and there is so much potential there, you know? It’s definitely a fabulous read despite the slight lack of world-building, so I can’t wait to see what you think of it. Thank you Jeann! <3

  15. At first I stayed away from this one because it just didn’t seem like my type of book but now i’m reading os many reveiws for this one and i WANT TO READ IT! It sucks about the world building though but maybe it’ll improve in this next instalment? I’m interested in seeing where the romance goes! Lovely review!

  16. I would really read this because I love that this one is a Phantom of Opera retelling. I didn’t know that this was set in futuristic Asia though, I thought this was a historical fiction. Anyway, now that I know what not to expect, I think I would actually be able to enjoy this. Fantastic review, Zoe!

    1. I have never watched Phantom of the Opera (I know! Shame on me!), so I wouldn’t know how it compares, but I’ve heard from those who have seen it that it compares pretty well, so I can’t wait to hear your thoughts.

      And it does give off a historical fiction vibe, doesn’t it? At times it almost felt like it was being set during the Labor Strikes in the 1900s. 😀

      Thank you!

  17. I usually prefer a slow burn romance over insta-love, and I think I’d enjoy Fine’s writing style. However, on the flip side, the lack of Asian elements, and world-building are huge turn-offs. I like the premise of Of Metal and Wishes, but it seems to be missing a little somethin’ somethin’.

    1. it seems to be missing a little somethin’ somethin’.

      My thoughts exactly Carmel! It’s a delicate balance between the romance / characterization and the worldbuilding, but it seems like the world-building takes it’s toll here.

  18. I’m not sure I would like to read it, but it does sound interesting. But then I’ve never seen the Phantom of the Opera (gasp), so I don’t knowwwww. But anyways, great review Zoe!!!

    1. It’s definitely interesting Val! 😀 I’ve never seen the Phantom of the Opera either, so you’re not alone! 😉 Thank you! 😀

  19. First I have a confession – I haven’t read The Phantom of the Opera.I have heard so much about it but never got to read it and I really hope to change that. But this one sounds like a really interesting story even though the world-building was lacking. But Wen seems like someone I wish to meet 🙂 I’m glad you enjoyed this one overall. Great review, Zoe 🙂

    1. I haven’t either Tanja, so you’re definitely not alone! It’s definitely intriguing despite the lack of world-building; and I can’t wait to see what you think if you give it a try. Thank you! 😀

  20. Ooh this book sounds great! The differences between classes sound intriguing but it’s a bit of a qualifier if it doesn’t really explain how society came to be like that… Hmmm, I’d take well-developed character over likable any day really. I find them to be much more interesting than someone I merely like. Lovely review, Z <3

    1. It’s really enjoyable despite it’s flaws Rachel. 🙂 I’m interested in seeing what you’d think of it, so let me know if you decide to give it a try, okay? And I completely agree with your assessment. I love characters that are intricate + well-developed.

      Thank you! 😀

    1. Such an intriguing premise, right? 😀 Like you said, this is definitely more for thee entertainment than the nitty-gritty, you know? Thank you! <3

  21. Never heard of this book but from your review, it doesn’t really seem like a phantom of the opera retelling for some reason. The slaughterhouse bit definitely threw me off a little haha.

    It’s so cool that’s it’s set in a futuristic China…but it sucks that the world is not built properly. 🙁 The book does sound intriguing though, so I think I will check it out soon! Thanks for the great review Zoe <3

    1. Haha! I haven’t watched Phantom of the Opera so I wouldn’t know how it compares; but I’m interested in seeing what you’d think when / if you read it.

      This is definitely more for the entertainment aspect than the nitty-gritty, so I can forgive the lack of world-building just a bit. It’s a shame though, because, like you said, there’s so much untapped potential in Asian culture, you know?

      Thank you!

  22. I love that this one takes such a not-traditional story and revamps it in many ways. I’m sorry the world wasn’t all that you were hoping it would be. Yeah, values change over time, but customs and traditions in such a culture-filled area as Asia should be there. I’m glad you enjoyed Wen as a character and that the romance appealed to you, Zoe 🙂

    1. I loved that too! 😀 I completely agree. Asian culture and customs have stayed with them for thousands of years, so the likelyhood of them disappearing over time isn’t very likely in my opinion.

      Thank you! <3

  23. The first time I came across this, I actually wasn’t all that interested. I think I have to bump it up my TBR a bit higher.

    I love books set in Asia, but I really hope I get at least a TASTE of some traditions and the Asian culture.

    I definitely want to meet both Wen and Melik. Hooray for slow-burn romances! *happy dances*

    Awesome review, Zoe! Too bad you didn’t like it more. >_<

    1. Yeah! Glad to hear it Aimee! 😀 I completely agree. Asian culture has so much unvamped potential, it’s a shame that it wasn’t able to shine here. And their romance is absolutely fantabulous! If you like slow-burn, this will probably be your jam! 😉 Thanks Aimee!

  24. I loved the world-building and atmosphere in this one, but I see where your problems are coming from. I had no idea the story took place in futuristic Asia – in fact, I said in my review that the setting in ambiguous, which makes the plot even more eerie – but wanting more Asian details makes sense.

    …You said “next installment”? There will be another installment? I’m intrigued – that ending definitely left room for more.

    1. The atmosphere in this one was absolutely wonderful; it’s just the world-building that had me. And I completely agree! I had no idea it was set in Asia until I read another review, and that kind of changed my opinion of the book. Diversity is great, but only if you utilize it, right? 😀

      I think I remember seeing something somewhere saying there’s a 2nd book, but don’t quote me on that! 😉 And yes! There is so much to be explained and explored further.

  25. This sounds really intriguing, there aren’t many horror retellings around and certainly not set in Asia. The futuristic element makes me wonder if that might have been due to the lack of research of Asian customs, it would be easier just to set it in an alternate Asia so to speak. I’m all for diversity too, but not just for the sake of sticking am alternative character in a world that SHOULD be saturated with customs and beliefs, but ends up being just another generic YA. I’m still intrigued and will grab a copy regardless. Thanks for the brilliantly honest review Zoe, loved it <3

    1. No, there certainly aren’t Kelly! 🙂 That could have certainly been a possibility. And I completely agree, if you want to be diverse, do it right, you know? It’s definitely worth grabbing a copy on, and I’m interested in reading your thoughts.

  26. I am pretty keen on this novel because Phantom of the Opera is my favourite musical of all time and I simply adore the story (even though it differs from the novel quite a bit, but I don’t even care, haha). Are the parallels between this novel and Phantom strong? I would like them to be, because I am not the hugest fan of books that say they are retellings and then I can barely see where the original story comes into play.

    Anyway, I like the sound of this book, regardless!

    It’s a bit disappointing about the world, though. I like background, and that aspect will probably annoy me, and also the fact that it reads like an American historical novel … that’s such a shame.

    Nevertheless, I am really keen to read this book – mainly because of my love for Phantom but still ;D

    1. I feel ashamed to say this since I’m an actress, but (*gulps*) I’ve never actually seen The Phantom of the Opera, so I don’t really know. But from the reviews I’ve read, those who have seen it have said the parallels are strong.

      It is such a shame, because there’s such potential there, you know?

      Looking forward to seeing what you think – especially since you’re such a fan of Phantom!

  27. Brilliant review. I am still undecided about this book, one minute I am desperate to read it and then the next I change my mind and take it off my TBR. I love the whole idea of a The Phantom of the Opera retelling, that’s the main reason I want to read it. I am just nervous about starting another series.

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